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Should you give your children their own Internet access?

 sd

Dear Suzi and Paolo,

My daughter Roylene will start elementary school this coming school year. And we’re pretty excited for her. Her classes start in June but even now, we’re already preparing her things. We bought her a study table and a laptop that she can use. My question is do we give her access to the Internet? We have a personal computer at the sala that she can also use but that’s for the whole family and often, my mom, her lola, uses it. Is it wise to allow her access to the Internet?

Sharlene Rubio

Parañaque City

 

Suzi says

Hello Sharlene! Thanks for writing in.

I assume your child is around seven years old? Internet is not so bad. There are safe sites that she can visit, also educational apps that she can use for learning and entertainment.    Access to the Internet may be necessary when there is research to be done. If she has homework that requires the help of online searches, why not allow her? Do make sure you or another grownup is around to guide and monitor her use.

Did you buy her a laptop because the school requires it? Or, just so that she can be more excited to go to school? Either way, it is important for rules to be set. Honestly, it wouldn’t have been a problem if she had to share the desktop with her lola. But since she already has her own laptop, do discuss the rules with her thoroughly so she won’t get too attached to the gadgets.

For me, there’s nothing wrong with going online but I would suggest that you limit the access to school-related work. Thanks mommy and good luck in the coming school year.

 

Paolo says

Hi mommy Sharlene. Thanks for your letter. This is a topic that all parents have to face. In this day and age, the Internet is all pervasive and it’s a little hard to escape its part in our lives since our day-to-day activities are tied to Internet use. The Internet has already replaced actual encyclopedias and dictionaries that our generation grew up with. It’s a very powerful learning tool and children are often very Internet-savvy, even the young ones. I think this is a good thing because the future will be about computers and Internet and we don’t want our children to be behind their peers when it comes to technology.

But there are negatives, too. Kids now are less active, less inclined to play outdoors, and are likely to get lost in the online world. There is also a tendency to get addicted to online gaming and to have immediate access to inappropriate materials. I think these are some concerns and misgivings that all parents share.

Personally, I think at your child’s age, “Internet research” will be part of school work but not to the point when students need personal access to the Internet. Like you said, there’s already Internet access at a shared computer. Use that. Providing access to a school-age child is all part of the learning process but it should be closely supervised, monitored, and metered. “Unlimited” Internet use, whether referring to time or content, is definitely not something I agree with. I think, by putting the internet access on the common family computer, you’ll be striking a good balance, giving your child access to a valuable learning and, at the same time, monitoring its use.

Still, the time will come when she’ll need more online time for schoolwork. But that won’t be until later, when she’s of age and is already responsible for her online use and habits. Until that time comes, I think you’d be on the right track by limiting and supervising Internet access.

 

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